7 Ways: How to Fix Windows 11/10 Cannot Access Shared Folder

This article provides you with 7 solutions to fix Windows 11 cannot access shared folder problem. You can also learn another, simpler way to share files with others in this article.


By Jonna Updated on March 8, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Why Win 11 Cannot Access Shared Folders?

Windows 11 lets you create shared folders so you can easily share files with other PCs or people. Using a shared folder makes it easier to access files stored on another computer on the same network.

In most cases, getting the correct name is enough to access the shared folder. There can be a number of reasons why Windows cannot access network share. There may be network configuration errors, incorrect drive settings, and misspellings of the folder names mentioned above. And in some cases, the user account behind the folder has inappropriate permission settings.

Windows 11 Cannot Access Shared Folder

If you need a solution to access shared folders on Windows 11 urgently, you can try the free sync software below. If not, you can directly turn to the following pre-checking and fixes to the Windows 11 cannot see shared folder error to resolve it.

Faster Way to Access Shared Folders on Windows 11 with AOMEI Backupper

If you don't want to try the solutions one by one to solve cannot access your shared folders on Windows 11, here I will provide you with a faster and easier way to access shared folders. You can use the best free file sync software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to sync shared folders to any location you want, such as syncing files on your PC to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, NAS device, or cloud drive, and vice versa. This software also has some excellent features:

AOMEI Backupper
Free File Sync Software
  • Auto sync: It allows you to run automatic sync using the Schedule feature. You can select from Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers and USB plug in.
  • Numerous destinations: It also allows you to sync files to various cloud drives, including OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
  • Wide support: All Windows PC operating systems like Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP are supported.

To quickly access shared folders on Windows 11, 10, and other systems, you can use the Basic Sync feature of this free file sync software. You can also try upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional to try other three sync options.

Basic Sync

Mirror Sync: It will keep the target folder exactly the same as the source folder. If there are files that exist only in the target folder, they will be deleted.
Real-Time Sync: It will synchronize file changes with almost no delay.
Two-Way Sync: It will synchronize the changed files from the source directory to the target directory and vice versa.

Checking Before Fixing Windows 10/11 Cannot Access Shared Folder

If you have encountered similar problems yourself, this guide provides some troubleshooting tips that may be helpful to solve Windows cannot access shared folder on Windows 10/11. Before moving to advanced solutions, you need to check that the following two settings are turned on.

👉 #1. Enable File Sharing Support🔥
👉 #2. Enable Network Discovery🔥

#1. Enable File Sharing Support🔥

Windows SMB sharing not working can cause Windows 11 cannot access shared folder and file sharing not working. You will need to make sure that the sharing protocol is enabled on your PC by checking the following steps.

  1. Open the Start menu, type programs and features, and click Turn Windows features on or off to open Windows Features window.

Turn Windows Features on or off

  1. Scroll down to find the features that started with SMB. You need to make sure that all SMB folders were checked here. Then click OK.


  1. Reboot your PC for the changes to take effect and see if you can access the shared folders.

#2. Enable Network Discovery🔥

Another reason your PC may not be able to access shared folders is because Network Discovery is disabled. Turning it on will allow your PC to view and access shared folders on the same network.

  1. Open the Start menu, type control panel and press Enter.
  2. Change the view type to small or large icons. Then go to Network and Sharing Centre.

Network and Sharing Centre

  1. Use the left pane to select Change advanced sharing settings.

Change Advanced Sharing Settings

  1. Under Private, select Turn on network discovery.

Turn on Network Discovery

  1. Next, expand All Networks and navigate to Password protected sharing section. Select Turn on password protected sharing and hit Save changes.

Turn on Password Protected Sharing

Solutions to Cannot Access Shared Folder in Windows 10/11

👉 Solution #1: Configure Network Sharing Settings🔥
👉 Solution #2: Allow Security Permissions
👉 Solution #3: Turn OFF Password Protected Folder Sharing🔥
👉 Solution #4. Allow File and Printer Sharing
👉 Solution #5. Use Shared Folders Troubleshooter

If you still cannot access the shared folders on Windows 11 after checking the two settings above, you can try the following five methods to try to resolve the issue.

Solution #1: Configure Network Sharing Settings🔥

Wrong network settings are one of the most common reasons why you can't access shared folders on Windows 11, here's what you need to do.

  1. Press Windows + E to open File Explorer and select the drive or folder on your computer that you want to share. Right-click on the shared folder and then select Properties.


  1. In the new Properties window, select the Sharing tab. Then click the Advanced Sharing button in the middle of the window.

Advanced Sharing

  1. Click the checkbox at the top of the window to Share this folder. Then under Settings, enter the share name of the drive or folder you want to share.

Share This Folder

🌟 Tip: You can limit the number of users who can access the shared folder by changing the number on the right.

  1. Then click the Permissions button under Comments to open another small window. You can select Everyone to allow access to everyone on the network, or select several by clicking on their user names. Then enable permissions for each person by checking all the boxes under Allow.


  1. Click Apply to save the changes. Then click OK to close the permissions window.

Solution #2: Allow Security Permissions

The next solution to the " Windows 11 can't access shared folders" problem is by changing the security permissions settings for shared folders. Follow these quick steps to get started.

  1. Press Windows + E to open File Explorer and select the drive or folder on your computer that you want to share. Right-click on the shared folder and then select Properties.
  2. In the Properties window, switch to the Security tab and click on the Edit button.

Edit Properties

  1. Then click Add button in the next window.
  2. In the Select Users or Groups window, click on Advanced.

Select Users or Groups Adcanced

  1. In the new window that appears on the screen, click on the Find Now button placed on the right side. Then a list of search results will be displayed on the window. Scroll down the list and select Everyone and then click on OK.

Find Now Everyone

  1. In the Permissions for Shared Folders properties window, you will now see a new entry named Everyone. Select Everyone from the list and check all the boxes in the Permissions window. Click the OK and Apply buttons to save the changes.

Permissions for Everyone

Solution #3: Turn OFF Password Protected Folder Sharing🔥

If you enable the password protection setting for shared folders, it may sometimes interfere with the network share settings, making it impossible for your Windows 11 to access the shared folders. You can follow the steps below to disable the password protection setting.

  1. Press Windows + S to open the search box, type Manage advanced sharing settings and hit Enter.

Manage Advanced Sharing Settings

  1. Click on All Networks then enable the Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read or write in the Public folders option.

Public Folder Sharing

  1. Then scroll down and now select the Turn off password protected sharing option. Finally, click on Save changes button after making these changes.

Tuern off Password-protected Sharing

Solution #4. Allow File and Printer Sharing

You can also try to enable file and printer sharing settings on solving Windows cannot access network computer/folder. Here is what to do:

  1. Go to Control Panel on Windows 11, and navigate to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change advanced sharing settings in turn.
  2. You can separately enable file sharing under Private, Public, and All networks.
  • Private: Under the Network discovery tab, tick Turn on network discovery and Turn on automatic setup of network-connected devices.
  • Guest or Public: Check the Turn on file and printer sharing option under Network discovery and File and printer sharing.
  • All Networks: Turn on public file sharing and turn off password-protected sharing.

Set Sharing Options

  1. Click Save changes and close the Advanced sharing settings windows, then restart your computer.

Solution #5. Use Shared Folders Troubleshooter

The Shared Folders troubleshooter may be helpful for you to get rid of the cannot access shared folder on Windows 10/11 issue.

  1. Open Windows Settings, and head to System > Troubleshoot > Other Troubleshooters.

Other Troubleshooters

  1. Locate the Shared Folders option, and tap on Run.

Windows 11 Shared Folders Troubleshooter

  1. Wait for the troubleshooting process to finish, it may take few minutes.

FAQs about Windows Cannot Access Shared Folder

#1. How can I troubleshoot network connectivity issues preventing access to shared folders in Windows 11?

Start by checking if you can ping the IP address of the computer hosting the shared folder. Ensure that both computers have network connectivity and are not experiencing any issues such as IP address conflicts or DNS resolution problems.

#2. Why is my shared folder not accessible?

Improper network settings, wrong permissions settings, and various reasons would lead to shared folders not being accessible. You can check them carefully.

#3. How do I unlock a shared folder?

To unlock a shared folder:

  • Go to Control Panel > Privilege > Shared Folders > Shared Folder.
  • Locate the locked shared folder.
  • Under Action, click the lock icon. The Unlock Folder window will appear.
  • Select Input Encryption Password, and enter the encryption password, to click OK.

#4. How do I check if my network settings are configured correctly for accessing shared folders in Windows 11?

First, ensure both computers are on the same network and in the same workgroup or domain. Check the network profile (private/public) and make sure file and printer sharing is enabled in the network settings.

#5. What should I do if my firewall is blocking access to shared folders in Windows 11?

You need to configure your firewall settings to allow file and printer sharing. Add exceptions for the necessary ports (such as TCP port 445) and ensure that both inbound and outbound traffic is permitted for the File and Printer Sharing service.

Final Words

After reading this article, I believe you can solve the problem of Windows 11 cannot access shared folders. In addition, this article provides you with a faster and more reliable way to access shared folders on Windows 11. That is to use the best free file synchronization software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

This software will help you to make the synchronization task very easy. It is also the best alternative to FreeFileSync. You can also use it to sync multiple folders to any location you want. Moreover, it's the best Windows backup software. You can backup important files to AOMEI Cloud if you have an AOMEI account. What's the hesitation? Try it out now!

Jonna · Editor
Jonna joined AOMEI in 2021 and has become a professional in the areas of computer backup and restoration, disk cloning, file synchronization, etc. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.